Clarets' fans Just Can't Get Enough
Report of match Scunthorpe United 0 Burnley 0 played 22nd January 2011
Reporter Tony Scholes
Eddie Howe's management at Burnley didn't get off to a winning start as we drew 0-0 against Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park.
I don't why but there are some grounds I love going to and some where I hardly look forward to the visit. This one, despite our promotion winning game in 2000, is one that falls into the latter category. I just dislike the place and probably without the new manager taking charge it wouldn't have been a fixture to excite me in any way.
At least it wasn't so cold over there where they hadn't even been having overnight frosts and there was an air of anticipation with the new Turf Moor regime. Tony Livesey's 'Late Kick Off' team were outside filming interviews with Burnley fans; something I quickly side stepped. Let's face it no one wants to have to see me on their television just before going to bed on a Monday night.
I was talking to the television team when the team coach pulled in. There were no surprises; just the eighteen players who had been involved the week before plus fit again Dean Marney. When the team news arrived Marney was back in the starting line up as was Ross Wallace. They replaced Graham Alexander and Chris Iwelumo who both went on the bench with Kevin McDonald, a substitute last week, left out of the squad altogether.
It was a similar system with Jay Rodriguez down the middle but Chris Eagles to his left and Wallace taking up the position on the right.
The lack of frosts had at least meant the game wasn't going to be called off, but what on earth had they been doing with that pitch. It looked far worse than what we've come to expect at Burnley around March each year and you'd have thought there had been a game on it every day in the week with no repair work done in between.
The game got off to something of a start. In the very first minute we attacked well with both full backs getting balls into the box, but Scunthorpe were soon back at us with a series of corners that put us under pressure. From one we were thankful to Wade Elliott for heading over the bar when a goal looked certain.
We had to withstand some pressure for a while although only once was Lee Grant really called upon, saving well down to his left on that occasion. Down at the other end we did, as the half wore on, start to get into the game more but overall the first half was one to forget.
By half time it was still, hardly surprisingly 0-0. It had been fairly grim stuff for the most part and the one bit of bright news was still having eleven players on the pitch. I remain convinced that Michael Duff should have been sent off for kicking out at a Scunthorpe player but a rather lenient Grant Hegley, a referee who these days doesn't use his cards too much, opted to not even show him a yellow.
In the long wait after the incident, as the referee spoke to both players as well as the two captains, I'd already decided that Andre Bikey would have to come on, probably for Ross Wallace, to enable us to go 4-4-1.
As it happened Bikey did come on at half time, but for Duff's partner Clarke Carlisle. Some wondered whether there'd been a call from David Dimbleby during the first half but it was the knock he took just a few minutes before the interval. He needed treatment on the pitch at the time and it was revealed later that he'd done well to get to the interval.
I thought there was a big improvement almost immediately in the second half although the first chance of the half fell to the home side. Even so we kept pressing and just around the hour we opted to make another change but as Chris Iwelumo got ready to come on we went very close to taking the lead.
It was simple stuff too with Jay Rod running onto a long clearance from Duff but not able to get his shot on target. As the ball went into the crowd behind the goal the change was made with Wallace going off and Burnley switching to a 4-4-2 system with Iwelumo partnering Jay.
The next ten minutes or so proved crucial; a period where we could so easily have won the game. Iwelumo headed an Eagles cross against the post and then, when played in by Jack Cork, he chested the ball down but saw goalkeeper Josh Lillis do well to save. Lillis also saved twice from Eagles and in another attack Wade Elliott was astonishingly given offside when put clear down the left wing.
The goal didn't come though and, one Eagles shot apart, we didn't create too much in the latter stages. We were still much the better side but the we couldn't just get the goal that would have given the new manager the best possible start.
A point then in the end, the seventh away draw this season, and at least we have the consolation that we won't play on a worse pitch all season.
Howe was happy with the performance and, despite it not being the best, there were positives. One was the second half performance which suggested some real positive words in the dressing room at half time.
The manager got a great reception before kick off and again at the final whistle as he was interviewed on the pitch. It was so refreshing to be at a game with the Burnley fans fully supporting the manager. The fans were in good voice all through the game, although as a Depeche Mode fan I have to say I wasn't always comfortable with the strangling of 'Just Can't Get Enough'.
Onto Pompey now and a familiar face. My views on Steve Cotterill were always very public. I think he did an excellent job at Burnley under very difficult circumstances. We still had three of his signings in the starting line up last night. I'd love to give his current team a hammering though on Tuesday.
The teams at Scunthorpe were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle (Andre Bikey 45), Michael Duff, Danny Fox, Jack Cork, Wade Elliott, Dean Marney, Ross Wallace (Chris Iwelumo 62), Jay Rodriguez, Chris Eagles. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, David Edgar, Brian Easton, Graham Alexander, Steven Thompson.
Yellow Card: Danny Fox.
Referee: Grant Hegley (Hertfordshire).
Attendance: 4,334 (including 816 Clarets).
Eddie Howe failed to become the first Burnley manager to start with a win since Stan Ternent in 1998 whose first game in charge was a 2-1 victory over Bristol Rovers.
Chris Eagles played his 100th league game for Burnley.
Wade Elliott recorded his 450th league appearance. He played 220 for Bournemouth and has now reached 230 with Burnley. His first appearance was in March 2000 as a substitute for Bournemouth in a 2-0 defeat at Reading meaning he's reached 450 in under eleven years.
The attendance of 4,334 is the lowest Burnley have played in front of for a league game in almost eight years since 1,972 saw us lose 2-1 at Selhurst Park against Franchise on 4th May 2003.